The word “ Carry” is mostly used in its verb form and I believe when it’s mentioned, the first imagery that pops into our minds is the act of moving something while holding it.

Do you know there’s another meaning for this word? In American football, the word “Carry” (Noun) is the act of running with the ball.

I believe in our Ghanaian setting or African setting as a whole one would attest to the fact that he/she did a lot of carrying during childhood in one form or the other. It’s not uncommon to see children in the rural areas carrying foodstuffs from the farm to the house or from the house to the market place.

Personally, I’ve experienced some form of carrying and I’ve also done some sorts of carrying. I remember anytime my mum sends me on an errand and I refuse, she’d remind me of how when I was a baby, she used to carry me on her back and walk to and from school. What she was basically trying to imply is that, when I was helpless as a baby, she gave me the necessary support to enable me grow and now that I’m matured I’m not willing to be of help to her when she needs my services most.

In as much as my mum tries to make me believe that her act of carrying me during infancy was so significant, I believe the most significant act of carrying was done by Jesus Christ. He carried a heavy cross on which he was eventually nailed to as an atonement for our sins. As a result of this sacrifice, no matter the gravity of sin mankind commits he/she would be forgiven after the confession of sins . Jesus is even more willing to forgive even before we come to the realization that we’ve sinned. I’m sure this act of carrying the cross which is a symbolism of our sins was so dire that, Jesus had to refer to it in Luke 9:23 when he said “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” as a proof of commitment on the part of anyone who seeks to follow Him.

One can deduce from  these instances that even though the act of carrying can be cumbersome it ends up serving a greater purpose to the beneficiary of that act.

There’s another form of carrying which doesn’t end up serving a greater purpose but rather ends up being an albatross for the carrier. This form of carrying is the act of carrying people’s burdens.

In Ghana and Africa as a whole, it is a sin to be a breadwinner of a family. Or should I say it is a curse to be successful in a family? When you are a bread winner of a family, all your family members would dump all their problems on you which ends up burdening you in the long run. In fact, the majority of family members would stop working because they have that one bread winner(Who is usually a male) in the city that holds a reputable position forgetting that, the bread winner also has a wife and children to take care of. You have to cater for the school fees of every child in the family, provide food, shelter, and clothing for every older member of the family.  The health needs of the family members will become your prerogative. Any conflict in the family won’t abate until you intervene and the last but not the least is, you have to cater for the funeral expenses of every family member until you  die. If your children are unlucky, they have to take up the baton from where you left off and continue carrying family burdens.

Woe unto you as a bread winner if you don’t satisfy any of your family member’s needs. You’d be catapulted into a movie flashback and reminded of how they helped your parents and also contributed some pittance towards your education. You must count yourself lucky if you’re not inundated with expletives and curses. They make it seem as if that pittance multiplied like the 5 loaves and 2 fishes in the Bible and raptured you to success like Elijah’s chariot of fire.

Unfortunately, this parasitic norm of family members burdening breadwinners with their needs has become a way of life for most people thus making them lazy. It has become an Achilles’ heel of some Ghanaians which our observant politicians prey on to garner votes in order to win elections. I recently heard a parliamentarian making a point about how living conditions have become unbearable under this current government and cited an example of how every morning some constituents of his, troop to his house just for employment and other personal needs such as school fees, remittance money etc. If you go about promising people that if you’re voted for you’d cater for their educational needs, get them jobs which they don’t qualify for etc. what do you expect? After literally giving them the impression that you’d carry their personal burdens, you now turn around to complain? It’s election time again and our politicians are making promises that purport to imply that, they’d carry the burden of every Ghanaian and give them respite from their daily struggles.

When you come to the international front, the developed countries are the breadwinners who carry the burdens of developing countries like Ghana. Our governments always go to them cup in hand begging for loans which sometimes end up accruing into huge debts. The sad part of it is that, some of the funds our governments go in for are either misappropriated or embezzled so the vicious cycle of incessant borrowing from developed countries continues. I sometimes wonder if we’re truly independent because after the developed countries  help us solve our problems, our governments end up creating new ones and head back to this same helpers to help clean the messes they created. When the governments mismanage our economy and put us on a trajectory of economic doom, they quickly run to the IMF for a bailout.

So what is the way out? The way out lies in a principle applied to babies. When a baby is given birth to, it is breastfed for a period of time after which the mother stops breastfeeding it. The mother does this because, the baby’s digestive system is now matured to accommodate some solid foods aside breast milk. Even though the baby cries initially when he/she is denied breastmilk, the mother doesn’t yield to its demand. When the baby realizes that the mother isn’t yielding to its cry it adjusts itself and gets used to the new feeding program.

In order for this same baby to be able to walk and develop into a matured being, it first has to learn how to crawl which doesn’t happen all of a sudden. After several months of carrying and pampering, there comes a time when the mother realizes the baby is matured enough not to be carried along all the time. When the baby makes gestures prompting the mother to carry him/her, the mother places a bait in front of the baby and beckons him/her to come for the bait. Even though the baby initially shows signs of imperviousness and cries, the mother doesn’t accede to its demand and as time goes on, the baby eventually starts crawling towards the bait and ends up being a pro at crawling. The same principle is applied when the baby is being trained to walk.

Just like how a mother stops breastfeeding her child when she realizes her child’s digestive system is fit for solid food, there has to come a time when the breadwinner of a family also says enough is enough and stops providing for able-bodied family members. If breadwinners of families want to put an end to carrying the burdens of their families, they should apply the adage “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime and start teaching their able-bodied family members how to fish rather than giving them fish.

If African leaders don’t know that their countries are way past the sitting stage, developed nations should put in measures that’d bring out problem-solving instincts amongst them thus putting their country in a crawling motion. When this is done, most African countries would end up walking and running in terms of national development.


Published by Desmond Tawiah